By Shelby Smoak
After over 30 years earning a living as a numbers guy and working in accounting positions while trying to perform and write songs in the off hours, Dave Colvin, a man with hemophilia A, finally shed that day-to-day job and traded it to focus on his real passion—music.
It was a career move he had put on hold since his college days when he started Illinois State as a music major, but changed because of state funding and the increased availability of jobs in accounting and cash management. But in 2006, Dave started his own publishing company, Arnybarn Music (BMI), and began professionally recording his songs and pitching them to other artists and labels, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Dave’s big break came in 2011 when one of his songs, “Gently Falls,” was selected for use in an episode of CBS’s Star Trek: Enterprise. The song aired in Season 2’s second episode, “Carbon Copy,” and can now be streamed on Netflix, CBS All Access, Hulu, and Amazon. Catch Dave’s song in the background at around the 10 minute mark. For Dave, it is an exciting time and a validation of his music. “It is so amazing to think that each month thousands of people around the world hear my voice and my song!” he enthuses. “My quarterly royalty report shows some 15,000 to 25,000 views per website!”
The success continued when another song “You are Living On” was released by Ronan Parke who was runner up on the 2011 season of Britain’s Got Talent. While Ronan Parke’s version differs from the country-infused, laid-back delivery of Dave’s own performances, the emotional tug of the song gets lifted into a pop gem.
The song was born from Dave’s grief at losing his parents within a few months of each other:
Just the other evening
We were talking on the phone.
Your advice was sure and steady
But your voice was not as strong.
Now that body’s finally failed you,
Heaven’s called you to come home.
It is at once specific, opening with a clear scene anybody can relate to, yet Dave consciously avoids a strict script after that, assuring that the lines will resonate with just about any listener. “To be successful, one needs to be able to write something that will be universally felt or understood,” he says, the philosophy that likely garnered this song as a hit. “It has been humbling to see the comments [Ronan Parke] fans have posted about how my song has touched their hearts,” Dave says. “It makes the years of trying and getting rejected time and again, all the more worth it!”
Those years, of course, came with the normal obstacles artists face and then the not-so-normal trials of having a bleeding disorder.
“Prior to prophylaxis,” Dave says, “I would often get a bleed from performing, usually an elbow from playing the guitar.” In those early years, he remembers going to the hospital for cryoprecipitate before his band performed. Dave continued infusing and performing, especially at a yearly festival in his hometown of Decatur, Georgia. About a decade ago, he had to let the touring go. Things came to a head at one show where Dave tripped on the stage’s drum riser and broke his elbow. “As I age, I do not perform out much anymore simply because it has gotten difficult to even go up a few stairs to get on stage,” he says. “The past few years I mostly record from my home studio in Nashville.”
Full of wisdom and advice, Dave advocates that to be successful in music, three ingredients are required: a love of music, patience and a thick skin, all things he owns in spades. Dave spends his other time as a father and grandfather and is thankful for singing through over forty years of marriage. He’s also working on an autobiography but says he’s only up to 1994 in the yearly chronicle.
While waiting for that, you can enjoy Dave Colvin’s music now at: https://www.arnybarnmusicgroup.com/music